Intellectual Disability Seen in About One in Three Children With Autism

Black children less likely than White children to be identified with autism spectrum disorder without intellectual disability

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THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have intellectual disability (ID), according to a study published online Jan. 26 in Pediatrics.

Josephine Shenouda, Dr.P.H., from the Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway, New Jresey, and colleagues analyzed data from 2000 to 2016 active ASD surveillance among 8-year-olds residing in the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area to determine the prevalence of and trends for ASD with ID (ASD-I) and ASD without ID (ASD-N).

The researchers identified 4,661 8-year-olds with ASD: 32.3 and 59.3 percent were ASD-I and ASD-N, respectively. Of those with ASD, 81.4 percent were boys; and 20.3, 26.4, and 45.4 percent were non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White, respectively. From 2000 to 2016, there was a twofold and a fivefold increase observed in the prevalence of ASD-I and ASD-N, respectively. Compared with White children, Black children were 30 percent less likely to be identified with ASD-N. Compared with children in underserved areas, those residing in affluent areas were 80 percent more likely to be identified with ASD-N. A greater proportion of children with ASD-I than those with ASD-N resided in vulnerable areas. Regardless of ID status, boys had a higher prevalence than girls; among ASD-I versus ASD-N cases, male-to-female ratios were slightly lower.

"Our findings underscore the likely presence of health disparities in ASD without ID identification, especially among disadvantaged children," the authors write.

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Elana Gotkine

Elana Gotkine

Published on January 26, 2023

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